The Hidden Toll Of Tax Season: Busy Tax Pros Have Less Time To Eat
- 3 Min Read
It’s no secret that tax season is the most stressful time of year for accountants, tax preparers, and other industry professionals. Tax pros work long, unpredictable hours and spend their days on tasks requiring an immense amount of focus.
We surveyed more than 600 tax professionals and asked them to tell us what these days are like. Here’s what you need to know as the tax season for 2023 heats up.
Survey respondents indicated that tax season leaves them less time for…well, everything.
- 82% said they spend less time with friends and family members.
- 55% said they have less time to exercise.
- 43% said they have less time for leisure activities.
The tax season for 2023 is also likely to affect the health and overall well-being of anyone involved in preparing personal or business tax returns.
- 66% of survey respondents reported they don’t sleep as well during tax season.
- 75% report that they experience more stress, causing their physical health to suffer.
- 71% said their psychological health suffers.
Not surprisingly, 96% of respondents said that what really suffers is their dietary habits. It’s so busy during tax season that accountants, tax preparers, and other industry professionals end up skipping meals to ensure they have enough time to focus on work. Tax pros may also turn to unhealthy convenience foods during tax season, making it difficult to get the right nutrients.
Long hours have a big impact on eating habits
Busy tax pros have dozens of tasks to complete each day, from reviewing completed returns to contacting clients for more information about their finances. When all is said and done, there’s little time left over to think about going out for lunch or heating up a healthy lunch from home.
That’s why 27% of survey respondents snack on granola bars and other easy-to-eat items rather than taking time to eat a full meal.
Respondents also reported the following:
- 24% eat convenience foods, such as frozen prepared meals.
- 36% turn to comfort foods, which may be loaded with calories and have high levels of fat and cholesterol.
Surprisingly, Gen X respondents were 86% more likely than Gen Z respondents to rely on comfort foods during the busy tax season. If you’re trying to attract and retain experienced tax pros, this is something to keep in mind.
Healthy eating takes a back seat to other priorities
A full 81% of respondents revealed that they don’t eat as healthy during tax season as they normally do, leaving them longing for better balance. As a result:
- 37% wish healthy foods were more accessible to them during the busy season.
- 31% wish they had increased access to restaurant meals during the busy season.
What employers can do to help
If you think there’s nothing you can do about poor eating habits during the busy tax season, think again.
Just over half of survey respondents indicated that free meals at work make them feel less stressed. Additionally, 66% of tax pros who get free meals at work say they eat healthier because of it. Most revealing is the fact that nearly every survey respondent—98%—said that getting free meals during busy season makes them feel appreciated.
This presents a tremendous opportunity to increase engagement and reduce stress by offering meals during the busiest time of year. Survey respondents indicated that free meals are a big motivator, as they make it easier to eat healthy while handling everything from client meetings to waiting on hold with IRS agents.
Still not convinced? Check out what else survey respondents had to say about receiving free meals as an employment perk:
- 82% of respondents who receive free meals during the busy season say it gives them a break from work.
- 72% say it allows them to work more hours.
- 75% say it encourages them to interact with other employees; 74% of respondents who don’t receive free meals say it would encourage them to interact more with their colleagues.
- 80% say it encourages them to come to the office instead of working from home; 71% of respondents who don’t receive free meals say it would encourage them to come to the office.
- 70% say free meals during the busy season make it more likely that they’ll stay with their current employer.
Download ezCater’s Tax Report to learn more about the impact of food during tax season
For additional insight on the challenges faced by tax pros during the busiest season of the year, download a free copy of our survey results.